Archive for the ‘In the kitchen’ Category

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately.  Can you believe that 10 years ago this month a very shy, 29 year old girl launched a business called Amazing Transformations?!  Me either!   And boy have I been TRANSFORMED!

Here is just a small sampling of how my life has changed over the past decade:

1.  Met my trainer, mentor and dear friend JoAnne Lenart-Weary who encouraged me to follow my dream to create beautiful spaces.


2. Launched my business Amazing Transformations.


3.  Made weekly/monthly appearances on NBC56 news in Tyler, Texas.  (Yes this very shy girl actually asked to be on live television and they said yes!  Not sure if I would be able to do that now. :))


(No, I did not have the opportunity to decorate the set.  I sure would have liked to!)Image

4.  Had the privilege of working in all levels of homes across the country.

Here are a few examples:









5.  Opened 2 different studios (one in Texas and then one in Oklahoma) to teach decorating classes.  Oh how I loved that season of my business!  It was so fun to share so many decorating tips with my friends and clients.


6. Started writing Transforming Tidbits on a weekly basis in 2007.  I continued to faithfully write almost every week for about 3 years straight!  But because of #7 (see below), my ability to write as frequently, dwindled quickly.

7. Went from longing to be a mom (and having great difficulty becoming one) to becoming a mother of FIVE! (through the gift of adoption and fostering)


8. I began the homeschooling journey with my oldest two daughters.  I have to admit, although I never saw myself ever even considering being a homeschool mom, I can’t imagine my life any other way now!  I have enjoyed growing closer to my daughters and learning along with them.  I will say, this year certainly has its challenges with also raising three little ones 2 and under.  You can usually find them right on top of the dining room table while I work with the older girls.  At least I know what they are doing, right?! 🙂

9. About 1 1/2 months ago, I rid my home of almost all processed foods and started a very challenging but exciting adventure of eating whole foods.  As you might imagine, eliminating processed foods leaves one having to do a lot more work in the kitchen.    You may be asking yourself…”Why in the world would this open adoption, fostering, homeschooling, decorator mom even think about adding this to her already full plate?”  I know it is crazy, but I am finding it is totally worth it!

You see, about 6 months ago, a very dear friend who is just a few years younger than me was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Through her journey, she shared with me how much the food we eat affects our health.  She made the choice to fight this ugly disease through diet and I am pleased to say she is winning!

Once you learn information in life, you are then responsible with what you do with that information.  Well, what I learned has motivated me to make a huge change in the way my family eats.  It was tough changing at first, but now I can’t begin to express how amazing it makes me feel!  I have renewed energy, my clothes are much looser (woo hoo!) and best of all, my husband says I am more beautiful than ever before!

10.  And probably the most significant change, I am content with who I am.  For a long time, I was driven to be “known”.  Known as an amazing decorator, known for working with people I highly admired, known for writing an amazing blog, known by the world.  But now, 10 years later, I couldn’t be more happy.  Now I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, and a homemaker who occasionally decorates and I wouldn’t change this privilege for the world!


As I enter my 39th year of life, I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store.  I have a hard time imagining being able to top the last 10 years!


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I am so excited that the Throwdown between The Pioneer Woman and Bobby Flay is finally going to be aired! I have had to stay tight lipped for 2 months.  Boy was that hard!

I am still pinching myself that I had the opportunity to watch the taping in person.   To be only inches away from a couple of amazing chefs and then be able to eat their awesome food – boy what an AMAZING day!

Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures, so I am hoping to “make the cut” and be on TV to prove my presence. The show airs this Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 8 pm central.  It also airs a couple more times this week.  You can get more details at the Food Network site.

Here is me waiting on the porch of The Lodge for the second half of the filming to begin…

WARNING to anyone brave enough to watch the show with me Wednesday, I’m bound to talk  an EXCESSIVE AMOUNT throughout the program! 😉

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Familiarity sometimes brings the most comfort in life.  Last week we headed on a spontaneous trip to Longview Texas and one thing I could pretty much count on was getting to have petits fours.

Ed with cake

Meet Ed.  He is a huge fan of the sweet little cake called Petit Four.  If it is your birthday and Ed likes you, you get Petits Fours to share with everyone.  According to Ed…”Everybody Loves ‘Em!”

Between our two families, it isn’t unusual for someone to be having a birthday when we are all together.

petit four

During our visit, it wasn’t anyone’s birthday but that didn’t stop Ed.

H with cake

He just came marching in the house singing “Happy Birthday” and “Petits Fours for everyone because everybody loves em!”

Trav with cake

I guess Ed is right…everybody does love them…at least at our house!

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cinnamon rolls

A couple days ago, I visited with my friend Melissa and she shared with me how she had just tried The Pioneer Woman’s homemade cinnamon roll recipe.  I have to admit I was pretty impressed because I had glanced over that recipe and subconsciously decided it was a little more complicated than I wanted to try.   Yet after talking with Melissa and her going on about how easy and wonderful the recipe was, I had this uncontrollable urge to try making them myself!

Saturday night after the kids went to bed, I decided to thumb through the cookbook and re-read the cinnamon roll recipe.  Every good cook knows you should read all the way through a recipe before beginning so you don’t have any unexpected surprises in the process.

This morning (Sunday), I woke up at about 7:30 am with the bright idea that I would make homemade cinnamon rolls before church.  Of course being a good cook, I had read the recipe the night before and it didn’t seem like too impossible of a task.  I will say that I did have a small voice trying to remind me that Sunday morning before church really wasn’t the best time to try out a new bread recipe, but the idea of warm gooey cinnamon rolls seemed to overtake my common sense!

Probably the only thing that seemed to deter me a little was the fact that the recipe called for whole milk and I only had 2%, so I began my journey by calling my mom to make sure she thought the milk substitution I was about to make wouldn’t ruin the whole experience.  She assured me it would be fine, so off I went.

My daughters were so excited, they loved the thought of cinnamon rolls.  They had no idea what was involved in the process.  I was smart enough to let them know that they would take longer than 5 minutes to whip together.

The sheer quantity of ingredients should have given me a clue as to how prepared I should have been for this adventure, but I was so excited and encouraged by Melissa’s recommendation that I overlooked this little fact as well.

I followed the instructions and heated the milk, oil and sugar.  Everything seemed to be going well and then I “reread” the instructions and found a step that I had blocked from my memory after reading through it the night before. After you heat the milk, let it cool, and add the flour, you are supposed to let it rise for 1 hour.  This one little detail was an hour more than I was counting on!  Thankfully, the dear, sweet Pioneer Woman had printed an escape clause. After the dough rises 1 hour and a few more ingredients mixed in, you can either use the dough immediately or you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days.  I was safe!  I wouldn’t have to skip church to keep from wasting so many wonderful ingredients.

I followed the instructions, placed the dough in the refrigerator and headed off to get ready for church.

After church, we were hosting a family for lunch.  Fortunately, I headed toward home before everyone else so I could get lunch started.  When I opened the refrigerator, this is what I found…


I just had to laugh!  The dough was everywhere.  It popped the lid off of my mixing bowl and covered just about everything on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.  I just knew that if PW could see me, she would be laughing too!

Oh well, so I wouldn’t be able to wait 3 days.  At least I bought myself enough time to finish my project after church was over.

Considering I substituted several ingredients (so I could make them RIGHT NOW) and got a few things out of order, they turned out surprisingly well.

rolls and cookbook

Even with all of my funny adventures making these rolls, I highly recommend trying them out just not on a day when you need to walk out the door 2 hours later.  You can find the recipe in The Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook which can be purchased at Amazon

loving the rolls

I guarantee they are so good!  They will make your eyes pop out.  Just ask my daughter!


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